Guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): How to safely plan a wedding or civil partnership, or funeral, wake or commemoration

What you need to do if you're planning a wedding or civil partnership ceremony or reception, wake or commemorative event in venues such as gardens or marquees on private land, excluding indoors inside private homes.

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This page has been withdrawn because it’s no longer current. Read more about how to stay safe and help prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Applies to England

Who this guidance is for

From 21 June there will no longer be a maximum number cap for attendees set out in law for:

  • wedding or civil partnership ceremonies and receptions
  • funerals
  • wakes or commemorative events for the deceased

Instead, the number of attendees will be determined by how many people the venue or outdoor space can safely accommodate with social distancing measures in place. This will be based on the COVID-19 risk assessment of the venue or outdoor space, and the measures put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Follow this guidance if you’re hosting or organising one of these events in venues that do not need to follow COVID-secure guidance, for example the garden of a private home, or on private land.

There’s different guidance if you’re hosting:

If you’re hosting or organising an event in other venues

There are steps you need to take if you’re hosting or organising an event in a venue that does not need to follow COVID-secure guidance.

  1. Choose a venue - either a COVID-secure venue or other venues such as a garden of a private home or a structure on private land such as marquees in a field.

  2. Complete a risk assessment if there’s more than 30 people attending.

  3. Take actions to prepare and host a safe event based on your risk assessment.

  4. Keep your risk assessment for at least 28 days after the event.

Choose a venue

There are two types of venues you can choose to host your event. These include COVID-secure venues and other venues.

COVID-secure venues

A COVID-secure venue is one which is operated or used by a business, a charitable benevolent or philanthropic institution or a public body, for example a place of worship or a registry office, where appropriate measures will have been taken to stop the spread of COVID-19.

In a COVID-Secure venue, certain steps will have been taken, such as a risk assessment has been carried out by the owner or operator, the capacity is set in line with in guidance, to allow for social distancing, there is adequate ventilation to bring fresh air in, and surfaces which people touch often are cleaned frequently.

If you choose to have your event in a COVID-secure venue, you should talk to the venue manager about how many people can safely attend, and what steps they are taking to minimise the risks at the event.

Other venues

Other venues include a garden of a private home, on private land, or in a public outdoor place.

If you’re hosting the event in a marquee or similar structure in a garden of a private home, it must have at least 50% of its walled area open at any time for it to be classed as ‘outdoors’. You’ll also need to consider the safe capacity limit based on your risk assessment.

Events must not happen indoors at private homes, including enclosed structures in gardens of private homes.

If you choose to have your event in a garden of a private home, on private land, or in a public outdoor place and you plan on having more than 30 guests at your event, you must:

  • consider the risks
  • take action to minimise them
  • record this in a risk assessment document

Considering risk: conducting a risk assessment

If you host your event in a venue that is not a COVID-secure venue, such as a garden of a private home and you plan to have more than 30 guests, you must complete a risk assessment.

Before you complete the risk assessment

You should consider the risks associated with your event and work out how to minimise them. This will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect people attending.

You must write down the risks and the actions you will take to minimise them in a risk assessment document. A risk assessment should record:

  • who might be harmed and how
  • what action you need to take to control the risks
  • who needs to carry out the action
  • when the action is needed by

Before completing your risk assessment, read the event specific guidance on how to reduce the risks for:

Completing the risk assessment

When completing your risk assessment, think about:

  • are there any parts of your event which could make it easier for COVID-19 to be transmitted between guests or anyone working at the event, for example, a bathroom which can only be accessed via one route?
  • are you aware if any of your guests, or anyone working at the event, are clinically extremely vulnerable and may be at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19?
  • do these risks apply in different ways to different groups of people at the event - for instance, will those working at the event have a different level of risk to your guests?

Use the example template to find out how to record these risks and the mitigation actions you will take.

Weddings: example risk assessment template (OpenDocument Text)

This file is in an OpenDocument format

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology.

Request an accessible format.
If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader) and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email accessible.formats@cabinetoffice.gov.uk. Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.

Weddings: example risk assessment template (Word document)

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology.

Request an accessible format.
If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader) and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email accessible.formats@cabinetoffice.gov.uk. Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.

Outside suppliers and risk assessments

Outside suppliers, such as caterers, will also need to complete a risk assessment for their workers that they should share with you.

You will also need to share your risk assessment with the supplier so they understand what risks there are and agree how you will work with them to protect your guests and their workers.

Minimising the risk: preparing your venue and during your event

Once you have completed your risk assessment, you must then take the actions identified in the risk assessment to prepare and host a safe event.

This might include ensuring plenty of fresh air, and providing facilities for attendees and those working at the event to wash their hands. Where the risk assessment identifies others to take some or all of these actions (such as attendees or those working at the event), you should ensure that they are aware and that they take steps to do what is required.

Find out more about what steps you can to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

You could get a £10,000 fine for organising a gathering of more than 50 people outdoors or 30 people indoors, if you do not consider the risks, conduct a risk assessment and take action to minimise the risk. This is required in law.

Your risk assessment should be completed in good time before your event so you have enough time to take the actions you have decided on to ensure it is safe. If your event falls shortly after this guidance is published, you should complete a risk assessment as soon as possible.

You must have your risk assessment available at your event.

After the event

You should keep your risk assessment for at least 28 days after your event.

Published 14 June 2021
Last updated 7 July 2021 + show all updates
  1. Added Health & Safety Executive contact details for people who need additional support with completing a risk assessment.

  2. Added Word document version of the example risk assessment.

  3. First published.